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Pop-tops and good neighbors

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By Lucinda Breeding

Humble aluminum can inspires festival that’s about more than beer and tunes

When it came to bringing a wildly successful music and beer fest to Denton, Spune booking agent and WeDentonDoIt blog co-owner Glen Farris found there was a kind-of, sort-of problem with being Little D.

That bugged Farris, he said, because he thinks Denton is the perfect place to celebrate canned craft beers, music and put the whole idea into a sustainable box.

Basically, he said, Denton is just the spot to take the popular idea of music festivals and do it without leaving a big, fat, messy carbon footprint behind.

The conversation kept coming back to Denton’s modest size and miniature market share.

“We [Spune and, an online national music and culture magazine] did Untapped festivals in Dallas and then in Fort Worth, and they turned out to be a runaway success,” Farris said. “When we got Paste on board, it really became something that they wanted to take national. We’re looking at doing Untapped in Portland and in San Francisco. It didn’t make sense to bring all that to a smaller market.”

Instead of shrugging and trundling on to Untapped: Portland Edition, Farris thought about a smaller, more manageable festival that brings good beer and good music to town for a party defined by sustainability.

Farris talked to beer brewers about a spinoff of Untapped, and Canned was born.

“The idea would be to give some attention to the guys who brew beer in cans. We have [Denton-based] Armadillo Ale Works brewing canned beers, and Deep Elum Brewing Co. is brewing quite a bit of canned beer. And as it turns out, cans are good for beer. They keep their seals and the aluminum cans keep light from changing the flavor and quality of the beers,” Farris said. “We started thinking how do we take this a little bit further? How do we get some of the forward-thinking conservationist types in Denton on board for this?”

The next logical step was to make the event sustainable.

“I love Denton,” Farris said. “I love this town. I mean, I love Denton so much that I might die for this town. And I’m a Boy Scout — an Eagle Scout, actually. I love the Boy Scout camping idea, where you take a lot of pictures but you leave nothing behind but footprints. I think sustainability is important, and I wanted Canned to be a sustainable festival.”

What does that mean? It means that whoever attends the festival is encouraged to bring their own containers to fill at water stations around the downtown Denton Square, where the event will take place. It means whoever comes to the event will see recycling bins for their trash. It means that the bands are “on message,” Farris said, and will urge the audiences to have a great time, enjoy good canned craft beers and be a good neighbor.

And it means the organizers got good and intentional when they laid out the grounds.

“This is going to be a 100 percent wind-powered festival,” he said. “We got together with Denton Municipal Electric. They buy wind power and get credits for it. So the power feeding the main stage will be metered, and then Denton Municipal will use its [wind energy] credits to cover the costs.”

Keep Denton Beautiful is supplying volunteers to work with Denton Recycles during the festival.

There has been some discussion of working with food vendors to compost food waste, but Farris said it’s likely that some of the ideas will have to wait for a future event.

Sustainability also means staging a fest that is financially solvent — vendors need to make money, bands need to sell merchandise and brewers need to further their brands. The festival features more than 35 brewers and seven bands.

LUCINDA BREEDING can be reached at 940-566-6877.


What: Festival with more than 70 beers from 37 breweries and music by seven bands

When: 3:30 to 10:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: the downtown Denton Square

Details: Tickets $17 in advance, $20 at the gate. For tickets, visit

On the Web:


If you’re visiting the festival as a serious student of beers, here’s how to fest:

Beer package, $25 — includes admission, a sample cup, a tasting card for 12 2-ounce samples and a koozie.

VIP package, $40 — includes admission, a sample glass, a tasting card for 12 2-ounce samples, a koozie, free barbecue and admission to side stage seating area.

A la carte — Beers cost $4 each, and tasting cups are $4 each.